If your New Year's resolution is to read more, then Bucks County Community College can help you reach your goal.
The college is hosting a free Book Discussion Group for all residents. The free, informal gatherings take place from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month during the academic year on the college’s Newtown campus.
The year starts off with a discussion of "The Yellow Birds: A Novel" by Kevin Powers on Thursday, Jan. 10. Written by a veteran of the war in Iraq, the book is a story of two young soldiers trying to stay alive.
The college's Book Discussion Group members come from a variety of backgrounds, but share a love of reading, according to Michael Hennessey, the literature professor who convenes the meetings.
“We love to read and consider it a social activity; by that I mean reading is a conversation, first between reader and text,” said Hennessey. “We like to share our thoughts with others to verify how well (or not) we understand the text and its relation to ourselves and the larger world.”
The groups chooses the stories that will be discussed, Hennessey said. At the last meeting each semester, participants suggest titles they’d like to discuss next semester.
"We vote on the suggestions," he noted. "It’s very democratic this way.”
Other titles to be discussed are:
- Feb. 14: "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel. Winner of the 2009 Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, this fictionalized biography documents the rapid rise to power of Thomas Cromwell during Henry VIII’s reign in 16th-century England.
- March 14: "The Round House" by Louise Erdrich. Likely to be dubbed the Native American To Kill a Mockingbird, Erdrich’s moving, complex, and surprisingly uplifting new novel tells of a boy’s coming of age in the wake of a brutal, racist attack on his mother.
- April 11: "Sweet Tooth" by Ian McEwan. A Cambridge student’s beauty and intelligence make her the ideal recruit for MI5, England’s legendary spy agency, in a 1972 Cold War operation to manipulate the cultural conversation by funding writers whose politics align with those of the government.
- May 9: "The Orphan Master’s Son" by Adam Johnson. Touted as one of the best books of the year by major reviewers, Johnson takes the reader inside the propaganda machine of North Korea in this two-part novel.
- June 13: "This is How You Lose Her" by Junot Diaz. A collection of nine stories focus on Yunior, a Dominican American who, despite his macho exterior, aches to be loved. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author takes Yunior’s heart and batters it every which way to show how love – romantic, physical, or familial – can affect even the most masculine character.
The Bucks County Community College Book Discussion Group meets in room 114 of the Rollins Center, located near the Student Life office. The campus is located at 275 Swamp Road, Newtown.